Friday, August 03, 2007


For whatever reason, the last person to renovate my apartment chose to bestow it with black-and-while tiled linoleum, like you might see in a 50s diner. Or a kitschy retro-50s diner. Or a David Lynch movie. This enables those living in my apartment to prolong the appearance of a clean floor somewhat by only stepping on the black squares. It's neat. Even after weeks pass after a good mopping, the kitchen or bathroom floor always looks about fifty percent dirty, as the darker squares hide foot filth.

Nature changed the game today when the sky started raining ash. Yes, though Fiesta is more typically marked with dots of confetti from broken cascarones, this year's throwback to the good old days of Spanish Colonialism also includes comparably sized specks of ash from the Zaca Fire, the back country blaze that has been burning since Independence Day and probably will continue to do so through the beginning of September. For the most part, the City of Santa Barbara has been spared much of the fire's ill effects. We've seen some vibrant sunsets and some apocalyptic moons, and the evening has often been bathed in an eerie, orange light. Today, however, one arm of the fire reached out into a previously undisturbed canyon and burnt through decades of dry brush. That's a happy fire.

I, however, couldn't walk from work to State Street without ingesting ash, both orally and ocular-ly. The weather is cool, the sky is brown, and I can't but think that this may be a Fiesta that Santa Barbarans looks back on as being unique. "Remember that one Fiesta when it was like smoking a whole pack of Marlboro Unfiltereds?" Bleck. At best, I can only hope these hellish conditions result in some variation on the following exchange: "Hey, so I heard you got a lot of hot ass in Santa Barbara on Fiesta weekend… Oh? What's that? Hot ash? Oh. Well, that's much different."

But back to the linoleum.

The little puffs of gray my feet stir up as I walk around town have followed me home. My footprints — in new, limited edition off-off-off-white, as opposed to standard grunge-brown — are equally visible on both black and white squares, indicating that I should probably mop before Dina and Nate and Dina's friend Gnome get here. I sure hope Dina — whom I haven't seen since Coachella — and Nate — whom I haven't seen since Enid Wipple's Christmas party — don't mind the taste of hot ash in their mouths.

That's ash.

[ We all fall down. ]

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